Supporting Student Engagement and Recognizing Learning With Digital Badges
Digital badges unify the learning that happens in these diverse contexts—often at a relatively granular level—with a common and portable representation of achievement.
- include a consistent set of metadata or information about the nature of the assessment, experience, or criteria that led to the skills or competency-based outcomes represented;
- incorporate authentic evidence of the outcome being certified;
- can be shared, displayed, or pulled into different kinds of platforms and environments in both human-readable and machine-readable formats;
- can be distributed in a simple, consistent format, fostering relationship building, networking, and just-in-time career development opportunities;
- are searchable and discoverable in a range of settings; and
- offer data and insights about how and where they are used, valued, and consumed.
As a marker of achievement, a digital badge looks both backward and forward at the same time: backward to the experience or assessment that was completed to qualify for it, and forward to the benefits, rewards, or new opportunities available to those who have earned it.
Some of the possibilities you might consider include:
- Serving as an alternate qualification for lifelong learning. Degrees and licenses certify summative achievements often following formal education programs or courses of study; do your digital badges provide official certification recognizing learning that is more granular, formative, or incremental?
- Surfacing, verifying, or sharing evidence of achievement. How can we surface discrete evidence that certifies a skill or accomplishment, and by doing so arm learners with official recognition they can use toward new opportunities? Does validating and making a specific success or outcome more visible, portable, and sharable help a learner move successfully from one learning experience to the next?
- Democratizing the process of issuing credit. How can we empower anyone who can observe or assess meaningful achievements to issue digital recognition of those accomplishments, even if that means that credential issuing becomes less centralized?
- Exposing pathways and providing scaffolding. How can we better suggest or illuminate a path forward for learners while also enabling that pathway and progress to be shared with an external audience of peers or potential employers?
- Supporting ongoing engagement. How can digital badges support learners incrementally as they progress through a learning experience? Can we enhance motivation before and after the experience?
The process for developing an effective badge system can be broken into steps:
- Create a badge constellation. A constellation is a master plan or blueprint that shows all of the badges you intend to offer and how they relate to core themes or to each other.
- Map meaning to each badge and to the overall badge system. Ensure that each part of your constellation has a value to the earner, to your organization, and to those who would reward or offer opportunities to bearers of each badge.
- Identify or develop an assessment strategy. How will you know when an earner is ready to receive a badge? Are existing assessments, observation opportunities, or measures already in place, or does your system require new ways to determine when an individual has qualified for a digital badge or credential? What activities or work will be assessed, and what evidence can accompany each issued badge?
- Determine relationships within the system and how learners progress. Is your plan one that shows progress, where components build on one another? How does one badge relate to another or stack to support ongoing personal or professional development?
- Incorporate benefits, opportunities, and rewards into the system. Work backwards from the benefits that will be available to those who earn badges in your system. Does each badge serve a greater purpose than itself? What doors does it unlock for earners? How will you communicate and promote the value of your badges to all constituents?
- Address technology considerations. How will you create and issue badges? Where and how will the badges be displayed or consumed by other systems and platforms in which they realize their potential value?
- Develop an appropriate graphic design. While the visual design is but one element of a badge rich with data, how an achievement is visually represented communicates a great deal of additional information. Digital badges offer a unique and powerful opportunity to market the skills and capabilities of those who complete your programs, and badges promote your initiatives as well as your organization and what it values.
more on badges in this blog
Global E-Learning Market in Steep Decline, Report Says
By Richard Chang
a recent report released by Ambient Insight Research, a Washington state-based market research firm.
Revenues for self-paced e-learning in 2016 are heavily concentrated in two countries — the United States and China. The growth rate in the U.S. is at -5.3 percent, representing a $4.9 billion drop in revenues by 2021, while in China, the rate is at -8.8 percent, representing a $1.9 billion drop by 2021. The e-learning market in China has deteriorated rapidly in just the last 18 months, the report said.
- Of the 122 countries tracked by Ambient Insight, 15 have growth rates for self-paced e-learning over 15 percent during the next five years. These countries are heavily concentrated in Asia and Africa, with the two outliers being Slovakia and Lithuania.
- Eleven of the top 15 growth countries will generate less than $20 million by 2021. Of the top 15, Slovakia and Lithuania are anticipated to generate the highest revenues for self-paced products by 2021, at $55.4 million and $36.5 million, respectively.
- The growth rates are negative in every region except Africa, where the growth is flat at 0.9 percent. The steepest declines are in Asia and Latin America at -11.7 percent and -10.8 percent, respectively. The economic meltdowns in Brazil and Venezuela are major inhibitors in Latin America.
- There are 77 countries with flat-to-negative growth rates. The countries with the lowest growth rates are Yemen (-18.7 percent), Brazil (-19.8 percent), Qatar (-23.5 percent) and Venezuela (-26.8 percent).
Self-paced e-learning products include online courses, managed education services, managed training, e-books and learning management systems, according to the report. The author does not consider mobile and game-based learning, which are growing, to be in the self-paced e-learning category.
The news on the self-paced e-learning industry is so bad, Ambient Insight will no longer publish commercial syndicated reports on the industry, the firm says on its website and in the report.
more on elearning in this IMS blog
Virtual Reality to Drive Rapid Adoption of 360 Degree Cameras
By David Nagel
VR’s applications for education have been much lauded, and tech heavyweights have begun investing in the technology, in part to both enable and capitalize on educational opportunities. Google, for example, has been offering its low-cost Google Cardboard kits, which, coupled with the Google Expeditions service, provides VR-based educational experiences and learning activities.
according to market research firm ABI Research, some 6 million consumer and prosumer cameras are expected to ship by 2021. (That’s out of a total of 70 million VR devices that are forecast to ship by then.)
New assignment this fall in Minnesota schools: deal with ‘Pokémon Go’
1. School administrator John Wetter took on an odd assignment over summer break at the request of one of his principals: Track down any PokéStops or gyms lurking on Hopkins school grounds. He asked game developer Niantic Labs to remove it from the game.
So far the game has only been blocked at sites such as the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
in Washington, D.C.
2. Some educators are embracing the interest in “Pokémon Go” as a potential teaching tool. “Any time something becomes a big pop culture sensation, as a teacher I try to just kind of ride the coattails,”
At St. Paul’s Washington Technology Magnet School, educator Eric Gunderson made a spinoff of “Pokémon Go” that students can play on their district-issued iPads. He created it using an augmented reality app called Aurasma. He printed pictures of eggs on sheets of paper. Get the printed egg in view of the iPad’s camera, and an animated animal appears onscreen, a knockoff Pokémon.
The Minnesota Department of Education said it hasn’t gotten inquiries from school districts concerned about “Pokémon Go.” A spokesperson for the Osseo Area School District noted that students face many distractions. “Our leaders are very skilled in dealing with whatever the distraction of the day is,” the spokesperson wrote in an email.
An LMS to Support ‘Gameful’ Learning
Seeking to bring the qualities of well-designed games to pedagogical assessment, the University of Michigan created a learning management system that uses gaming elements such as competition, badges and unlocks to provide students with a personalized pathway through their courses.
By David Raths 08/24/16
UM School of Information and School of Education
a new type of learning management system called GradeCraft. GradeCraft borrows game elements such as badges and unlocks to govern students’ progress through a course. With unlocks, for example, you have to complete a task before moving to the next level.
Written in Ruby on Rails and hosted on Amazon Web Services, GradeCraft was created by a small team of students and faculty with additional software support from Ann Arbor-based developer Alfa Jango. Their work received support from UM’s Office of Digital Education and Innovation and the Office of the Provost. GradeCraft can work as a stand-alone platform or in conjunction with a traditional LMS via the LTI (Learning Tools Interoperability) protocol.
Here is how it works: Instructors create a course shell within GradeCraft (similar to the process with any LMS). Students use a tool called the “Grade Predictor” to plan a personalized pathway through the course, making predictions about both what they will do and how they will perform. When assignments are graded, predictions turn into progress; students are then nudged to revisit their semester plan, reassessing what work is available and how well they need to do to succeed overall. Students are able to independently choose an assessment pathway that matches their interests within the framework of learning objectives for the course.
more on LMS in this blog
more on gaming in this blog
more on badges in this blog
10 Useful Math Practice Apps for Elementary Students
G+ link: https://plus.google.com/+Educatorstechnology/posts/jZubiBmQLZL
1- Math Puppy
4- Motion Math
7- Everyday Mathematics
more on technology for math lessons in this IMS blog
Five Ethical Considerations For Using Virtual Reality with Children and Adolescents
Five Ethical Considerations For Using Virtual Reality with Children and Adolescents
G+ link https://plus.google.com/+TessPajaron/posts/8YYgjoPrQvq
In an address to the VRX conference in San Francisco, noted game developer and tech wizard, Jesse Schell predicted that over 8 million VR gamer headsets will be sold in 2016. Facebook purchased Oculus Rift, presumably laying the groundwork for a future where friends and family will interact in rich virtual spaces. All the major players, including Microsoft, Sony, Samsung, Google and an HTC and Valve partnership are jostling for the consumer headset market.
Experimenting with VR in his classes as part of a project piloted by Seattle-based foundry10, a privately funded research organization that creates partnerships with educators to implement, research and explore the various intersections of emerging technologies and learning, including VR..
And the technology’s potential for good is vast. It has already been used to help with autism, improve personal financial management, treat PTSD and manage pain. More and more news outlets, including the New York Times, are adopting immersive journalism, where news stories can be experienced through VR.
As an educational tool, VR might prove transformative. Google Expeditions allows students to take over 100 virtual journeys from ancient Rome to the surface of Mars. It might also have a big impact on social emotional learning (SEL), as VR’s unique ability to produce empathy recently led Wired magazine to explore its potential as “the ultimate empathy machine”. Addressing a persistent anxiety, Suter used Samsung Gear’s Public Speaking Simulator to successfully prepare a few nervous students for class presentations, reporting they felt “much more calm” during the live delivery.
In a recently published article, researchers Michael Madary and Thomas K. Metzinger from Johannes Gutenberg University in Germany review a series of ethical considerations when implementing VR. The illusion of embodiment may provide VR’s greatest value to education, but also lies at the heart of its ethical implementation. Madary and Metzinger believe that VR is not just an evolution from television and video game screens, but a revolution that will have an enormous social impact. In their paper, they claim that:
VR technology will eventually change not only our general image of humanity but also our understanding of deeply entrenched notions, such as “conscious experience,” “selfhood,” “authenticity,” or “realness.”
It’s important to remember that many current VR uses in schools, like Google Expeditions, are not interactive VR, but simply 360-degree video experiences. In these cases, students experience immersive 3D pictures or panoramas, but do not deeply interact with the content. The illusion of embodiment is a product of interactive content and motion tracking, where users can alter and affect their environment and engage with others who share their virtual space. Headsets like the Vive and Occulus Rift fall under this latter category, but it won’t be long before most, if not all, consumer oriented VR technology will be completely immersive and interactive.
1. Long-Term Effects and Prolonged Exposure
2. The Impact of Environment on Agency and Behavior
3. Aggravating Preexisting Psychological or Emotional Issues
4. (Un)Reality and Diminished Real World Interactions
5. Privacy and Data Gathering
more on virtual reality in this IMS blog
HP’s VR gaming backpack is light, thin, and still a prototype; It feels pretty good!
By Adi Robertson
Alienware, Zotac, and MSI have all shown off self-contained backpacks that can be used with the HTC Vive, and companies like The Void have created their own “backtops” for location-based entertainment.
more on virtual reality in this blog:
Penn State Program Intros Teens to Software Behind Pokémon Go
By Dian Schaffhauser 08/04/16
A summer-time enrichment experience for high schoolers at Penn State has taken on a heightened level of excitement with the use of the same development toolset behind the global phenom Pokémon Go.
Besides Unity, the platform used by Niantic to create Pokémon Go and other popular games, the course also introduces students to AutoDesk’s Maya, a program used for 3D animation, modeling, simulation and rendering.
problem-based learning, which brings the students together for team problem-solving.
More on Pokemon Go in this IMS blog